Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Time I Had An Anxiety Attack While Parallel Parking

I've had a week. Since Tuesday I've been battling a migraine complete with visual auras and light sensitivity - and I rarely get visual auras and light sensitivity with my migraines. My chronic fatigue has seemed in high gear almost nonstop for the past few weeks. Last night I started with a flare up of IBS, which I don't discuss much but have been battling for the past 12 years or so. My overall anxiety has been off the charts over the past month. The pharmacy didn't fill the right Mg of medication, so I've had to improvise by combining smaller Mg tablets until they do fill it, and I'm not sure when that will be. Which of course is causing me anxiety. So I didn't really need a particularly poorly timed anxiety attack.  

But low and behold, today, while trying to parallel park in my neighborhood, I had an anxiety attack. Let me back up. My condo comes with one parking spot, but we have two cars. Whoever gets home first parks on the street, because as the hours tick by the chance of finding street parking dwindles. So when I got home from work about an hour ago, I found a very tight but skillfully feasible parking space on my street. I don't like having to parallel park when others are driving around, edging in trying to rush me (it makes me anxious when anyone rushes me doing anything) but I do it often enough. But for some reason, perhaps because the spot was especially close and I was already not feeling well, I had an anxiety attack, right there in my car, mid maneuver. I was most of the way into the spot, enough to let people pass on the street, and I froze. Somehow, a kind woman driving by seemed to know something was wrong. I don't know how she did, because I was just of sitting there in my car, frozen, but she did. There was nobody behind her, so she pulled up next to me and tried to help me park, thinking maybe I needed some assistance. While she was not spot on about the kind of assistance I needed, I was incredibly grateful that she wanted to help at all. Then, cars pulled up behind her. Within a few seconds they all started blaring on their horns. Undaunted, this kind woman still tried to help me. But they laid into her with their horns so badly that I finally told her it was ok, just to go. Then, as they drove past, they glared at me. 

I finally pulled out of the spot, knowing that between the initial anxiety attack and the extra shot of anxiety from them blasting their horns and glaring at me, I would never be able to park in such a tight space. I continued to drive around until I found a spot I could have fit a school bus in. I was shaking when I did so, petrified that people were going to do this again if I found a spot I had to take my time with. When I finally parked and was walking towards home, a big SUV (Suburban or something of that size) pulled up in the street parallel to my car and started beeping. I jumped, scared that it was someone I'd held up in my previous attempt who somehow recognized me out of my car.  You never know with these days - people have gotten shot for less, seriously.  I realized soon that the car was beeping as a way to call to someone he/she was picking up out of the house, since there was no space to pull over such a big car and wait. Still, I put my head down and walked quickly home. 

I had plans to work out this afternoon, but I know that high anxiety + workout = a bad idea. Exercise increases adrenaline and when my body and mind is already stimulated from anxiety, it can throw me right into a massive anxiety attack or a hypomanic episode. After working out, I was going to start a nice dinner so that it was all ready when my partner gets home, since he has to work later today. Instead, I'm battling anxiety "hot flashes", sitting on the couch in an outfit that looks like it was rejected from Goodwill (though I did in my ironic sense of humor manage to put on my "Cute When Moody" Eeyore shirt), curled under a blanket and blogging while I can, because getting my words and thoughts out is one of the few things that helps anxiety when it gets this bad. Afterwards I'll probably curl up and read or watch something horribly cheesy but non-anxiety-producing on the Hallmark channel, because it's what I can handle right now. 

To the woman who stopped to help a fellow human who was having an anxiety attack with particularly unfortunate timing, thank you. There should be more souls like you on this earth. You didn't even back down when people started in on you, determined as you were to help.  To the impatient assholes who were in such a hurry that they couldn't wait even a literal minute to allow this kind woman to help, I hope you never have an emergency when it's inconvenient. I hope nobody ever has to stop and help you while delaying others for even a moment to ensure that you're ok. And I hope that if they do, you're completely understanding at the impatience of others. After all, it's every person for themselves, right? 

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